When food expediters erupt from Poco Loco Mexican Restaurant's kitchen, their arms are hidden beneath stacks of fajitas, enchiladas, and accents of sweet mole. The cozy eatery has welcomed guests into the aromatic embrace of its exposed-brick walls and Mexican tapestries for 20 years and keeps the party going with flat-screen TVs and whirring margarita blenders. After patrons cool palates with a traditional, lime-marinated ceviche, they can retreat to the outdoor patio for some sun or question servers about the philosophical ramifications of being one who is consistently waiting.
Maria’s Cantina cultivates a comfortable, homey feel from its implementation of Old-World recipes to its use of fresh, organic ingredients from nearby farms. The accommodating staff treats its customers like extended family, inviting them to lounge at sleek wooden tables as they sup on painstakingly prepared tacos, sip top-shelf margaritas, or leaf through the chef’s grandparents’ wedding album.
Two stories of tables cuddle guests and support steaming plates loaded with El Patron Mexican Grill's collection of Mexican and Latin cuisine. The ceviche mixto whets appetites with flaky red snapper and shrimp steeped in fresh lime juice, and tostones con todo crisp up green plantains instead of pressuring them to grow up and become a banana. Chefs pack crabmeat into a grilled chicken breast and douse the succulent parcel with creamy almond sauce to create the pechuga al cangrejo entree. Grilled steaks infiltrate the menu under a variety of savory aliases, surrounded by sautéed onions, guacamole, and a cheese enchilada in the tampiqueña or sporting a chimichurri moustache in the churrasco.
Cozymels' lengthy menu beaches mouths on the coast of Old Mexico with authentic flavors from the non-central locales of America's savory southern neighbor. Get acclimated to the restaurant's food ocean by starting with a traditional sampler—chicken nachos, spinach-mushroom quesadillas, and crispy chicken flautas with guacamole, jalepeños, pico de gallo, and sour cream ($12). An entree of enchiladas los cabos prolongs your taste buds' beach party with two enchiladas stuffed with sautéed shrimp, lump crab, and cheese, then topped with poblano cream ($14). Otherwise, keep it peninsular with the Yucatán especial (shrimp and scallops sautéed with spinach, red onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and poblano chilis, topped with creamy Cancun sauce and served over Yucatán rice; $16) or venture into the spicy heart of flavor country with homestyle carne asada, a 10-ounce grilled skirt steak topped with spicy rajas mix, cheese, spicy gaujillo chili sauce, and served with Yucatán rice, refritos, and Mexican potatoes ($17). If your appetite is still struggling against the waves of savory flavors at the end of your meal, finish it off by running it over with a Cozy Cadillac margarita (Cazadores Silver, Cointreau, sweet and sour, and fresh lime; $11).
Taco Sueño serves a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, fueling lively meals in the restaurant's cozy dining room or filling carryout orders for at-home appetizing. Limber up out-of-shape taste buds with an order of jalapeños rellenos ($3.50)—house-pickled peppers stuffed with tuna—or a bowl of fresh guacamole served with chips, warm tortillas, or a T-shirt cannon for delicious airborne delivery ($5.75). A collection of tacos calms hands-on hungers with grilled beef, homemade chorizo, and other fillings topped with guacamole, onions, cilantro, and your choice of salsa ($2.25 each, three for $6). Supplement satiation with Mexican entrees such as a trio of tasty enchiladas ($9.95) or milanesa de pollo, a chicken torta topped with Oaxaca–style cheese, avocado, and a warm blanket of refried beans ($7.95). Patrons get around tortilla allergies with refreshing bowls of sopa de verduras ($4.75)—a savory mushroom-and-squash soup—or ensalade de aguacate, featuring diced avocados, tomatoes, and onions tossed in a lime-juice vinaigrette ($6.95).
Like many New Yorkers, Bruce Beck arrived in the city after studying theater; like many more still, he stayed for the food. Since joining the industry in 1979, Bruce has opened his own chocolate shop, written two cookbooks, taught chefs at The New School in Manhattan, and opened two restaurants—including the Mexican-inspired eatery Taco Sueño and its successor, Yucatán.
At the latter restaurant, chefs complement their familiar tacos and burritos with specialties such as pollo dorado a la Yucatán—a crispy half-chicken with chile habanero dipping sauce, pineapple slaw, and fries. At the full bar, mixologists prepare classic cocktails such as the margarita, a drink made to taste like the Caribbean's fruity, salt-rimmed waters.